It is a known fact that if you don’t have the right contacts, then getting a big break in the film industry is almost impossible. Sometimes, even if you have the contacts, still you might have to struggle really hard before making a mark. Many of our beloved actors have worked hard, day and night, to reach the place where they are now.
Here are some of the popular names in the film industry who played small roles but had great ambitions.
1. Shahid Kapoor
He was an extra, dancing behind Aishwarya Rai with the troop in the song “Kahin aag lage lag jaaye” from “Taal”. This uncredited performance was Shahid’s first appearance on screen.
Over the years, Shahid Kapoor has given us many memorable performances in films like Jab We Meet, Kaminey, Haider and Udta Punjab. These films have helped him to establish himself as one of the leading actors of the industry. Even though he hailed from a filmy family, yet he had to struggle really hard to make his mark.
2. Akshay Kumar
Before he became one of the highest paid actors in the industry, Kumar was seen in the role of an insignificant Karate Instructor in a Kumar Gaurav film, ‘Aaj’. The role was hardly over 10 seconds.
There is hardly any actor in the industry who is as bankable as Akshay Kumar. In the present day, filmmakers might have to wait for months or even years to sign him. But the star actor was not always in such demand.
It is believed that it was while working for this film that Rajiv Bhatia decided to change his name to Akshay Kumar.
3. Deepika Padukone
The Bajirao Mastani Actress was first seen dancing in a Himesh Reshammiya music video.
Before getting her big break, opposite Shahrukh Khan in Om Shanti Om, Padukone was a relatively unknown model. Well, her hard work did pay off, as soon after her debut he started getting exciting offers.
4. Nawazuddin Siddiqui
He did a bunch of uncredited and insignificant roles in films like Sarfarosh and Lagaan, before getting the meaty roles.
From a watchman to an award-winning actor, Nawazuddin’s struggle is a well known one. For years, he kept on doing odd roles in various films. It was only after the success of Kahaani and Gangs of Wasseypur 2 that people actually noticed his talent.
5. Mithun Chakraborty
Long before Agneepath, Mithun and Amitabh shared the screen in a film called Do Anjaane, where Mithun appeared as an extra, passing rude remarks at Amitabh.
Few actors have enjoyed such long and successful career like Mithun. If he hadn’t joined the film industry, he would’ve become a Naxalite. Even after he joined the film industry, he had to wait for quite some time to get good offers.
6. Karan Johar
Before he made it big with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Karan Johar was seen as an extra playing SRK’s buddy in DDLJ.
Although he is popular as a director rather than an actor. Karan Johar started his career as an actor before he decided to give direction a shot. Years later, he did play a significant role in Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet.
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7. Brad Pitt
In one of his first works on screen, in the film Less Than Zero, Pitt was credited as the “Partygoer/Preppie Guy at Fight.”
Brad Pitt had to wait for years, before becoming the star he is today. Pitt did everything, from doing minor roles to charging extremely low wages for movies like Thelma & Louise.
8. Clint Eastwood
The legendary actor-director used to get work as an unknown and uncredited extra through Central Casting.
He is an icon of the American cinema. Although he has worked in countless successful films yet success did not come easy. He started his career right from the scratch. He did uncredited roles, then minor roles where he had some dialogues to playing the lead in iconic films like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
9. Sylvester Stallone
He did a number of uncredited and minor roles before he finally made it big with Rocky. He was also rejected as an extra in The Godfather.
Before Rocky happened, the action hero had to do a number of odd roles to survive and feed himself. Rocky did make him an overnight star, but only he knows how long that night was.
10. Matt Damon
Just like his childhood friend Ben Affleck, he too was seen as an extra in the film the Field of Dreams.
Good Will Hunting changed his life forever. The success of the film helped Damon to establish himself as one of the leading actors of the industry. But before the film happened, Damon was often seen as an extra often along with his friend Ben Affleck.
11. Ben Affleck
He began his career with small roles as an extra, who appeared in Field of Dreams in 1989.
Ben Affleck has enjoyed unparalleled success as an actor and as a director. Just like Matt Damon, Affleck too had to work as an extra before he achieved recognization thanks to Good Will Hunting.
12. Bruce Willis
He can be seen as an extra in films like The First Deadly Sin, he can be also seen as an extra in a courtroom scene of The Verdict.
The Die Hard actor had to struggle for many years before making a name for himself. Even though he started his career as an extra, Willis went to act in some of the most iconic films ever made.
13. Jackie Chan
He used to work as an extra in the films of Bruce Lee.
Whenever you say action-hero, the first name that comes to our minds is undoubtedly that of Jackie Chan. One of the most popular and highest-paid actors in the world had to wait on the sidelines for years. When Bruce Lee was around, Jackie used to play an extra in his fight scenes.